Prof. Andreas Bernhardt

Event: Tailor-Made trainings



Andreas is co-designer and convenor of ESMT's yearly Coaching Colloquium, was co-organizer of the International Coaching Research Forum in collaboration with the Institute of Coaching at McLean/Harvard Medical School, and regularly contributes to top academic and practitioner conferences. His current consulting and research interests focus on leadership development, executive coaching, HR management, and leading and coaching teams in tough times. He is co-editor of the new book "Tricky Coaching: Difficult Cases in Leadership Coaching“.

He teaches and coaches in the areas of Leadership, Organisational Behavior, Coaching, Negotiations and Change in MBA, Executive MBA, open enrollment, and company specific executive programmes. His executive education portfolio includes, programmes for, among others, Allianz, Deutsche Bank, Postbank, Hogan Lovells, Deutsche Telekom, E.ON, RWE, BSH Bosch and Siemens, Hitachi, Kaspersky, B. Braun, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, West Pharmaceutical Services, Johnson & Johnson, Axel Springer, McDonald's, and the European Union. Andreas consults globally operating companies on issues of executive coaching, leadership development, and leading people and teams in challenging times. He also regularly coaches executives on leadership and career issues.

Abstract of session

Leadership in contexts where vulnerability and threat are ever present is a challenge for all involved. It is imperative that leaders in these contexts are as connected with their own senses of limitation as with their views of possibility. Common theories of stress management and wellness at work often focus on the individual as the one responsible for wellness with many urging the leaders to control their emotions and manage their stress themselves, quietly and away from colleagues. At the mildest end of the spectrum this approach is unsustainable. For the stressed individual it can generate issues of shame, powerlessness and disconnection – all ingredients for a vicious downward spiral. At one level it is interesting to explore why we invest in this type of approach when dealing with the issue of difficult emotions at work. This presentation will propose a more sustainable system of leadership that fosters professional and personal growth. From a systems psychodynamic perspective I will argue that organisations that embrace emotions as a source of organisational data and foster leadership spaces interested in the meaning of expression at work provide opportunities for growth at all levels of the organisation. I will also focus on the role of social defences that hinder growth in these contexts and argue for a tolerance of pain as an adaptive approach to effective leadership in challenging contexts.